TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Paddle tennis celebrates 50th anniversary at Edgeworth Club

TribLIVE Sports Videos

By Karen Kadilak
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Paddle tennis at the Edgeworth Club in Sewickley has come a long way.

In 1962, the club became the first in Western Pennsylvania to have a court, said Patty Whalen, a former player who helped organize a dinner-dance held last week to mark the 50th anniversary.

Now, the club has four lighted courts, with men, women and junior players competing across the area in the Western Pennsylvania Platform Tennis Association.

Nathalie Lemieux, the wife of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, is among the club's players.

Also known as platform tennis, paddle is played primarily in winter months on an elevated court equipped with propane floor heaters.

The heating system melts ice, allowing play outdoors in all weather conditions.

Whalen said she has played in Michigan when the temperature was 12 degrees.

Dressed in winter attire, players use paddles about 18 inches long to hit a spongy, skid-resistant rubber ball measuring 2.5 inches in diameter.

“Paddle is as popular as ever,” Whalen said. “Even municipalities have courts.”

Whalen finds the sport a great way to beat winter doldrums.

“It does make winter seem shorter,” agreed Cassie Ross, 81, who began entering tournaments with her husband, Bill, in the early 1970s. “You're out in the fresh air, which makes you feel so much better.”

With more tennis professionals playing, Jim Miller said the sport is quicker than when he began competing 50 years ago.

Miller, 77, has competed longer than most players.

“My knees are still fine,” Miller said.

Miller enjoys the camaraderie.

“I play with a group of guys who are competitive, but like to kid each other and socialize afterwards,” he said.

With more than 500 facilities, paddle tennis also has grown nationally, said Ann Sheedy, executive director of the American Platform Tennis Association.

Before 1960, the association had only 46 members.

“Platform players are addicted to their sport,” said Sheedy, who lives in Fox Chapel and has competed in tournaments and league matches at the Edgeworth Club.

According to Sheedy, the Fox Meadow Tennis Club in Scarsdale, N.Y. was the first to build platform tennis courts, in 1931.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
  2. Search resumes for Tarentum Bridge jumper
  3. Steelers extend Suisham’s contract through 2018
  4. Rossi: Buying trust is a must for Pirates
  5. 2 people wounded in North Side shooting; third incident in 3 days
  6. Steelers aim to create more turnovers this year with speedier defense
  7. With Spaling locked up, Penguins turn attention to signing Sutter
  8. Steelers notebook: Shoulder pads get technological boost for Ravens game
  9. Turbine sites near properties in Fayette County threatened
  10. Pirates’ attempts to bolster roster at deadline a fruitless endeavor
  11. Rostraver police identify suspect in home invasion
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.